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Stephen B. Gaul and Michael R. Evans

Seedlings of Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don `Pacifica Red' were transplanted into substrates composed of either 80% sphagnum peat or coir with the remaining volume being perlite, sand, or vermiculite. The six substrates were inoculated with Pythium irregulare Buisman at 0 or 50,000 oospores per 10-cm container. The containers were irrigated daily to maintain moisture levels near container capacity. No visually apparent symptoms of infection or significant differences in shoot and root fresh and dry weights were observed among the uninoculated substrates and the inoculated coir substrates. Inoculated peat substrates had an 80% infection rate and significantly reduced shoot and root fresh and dry weights as compared to uninoculated substrates. Seedlings of C. roseus were transplanted into pasteurized and unpasteurized substrates composed of 80% (v/v) coir or sphagnum peat with the remaining 20% being perlite. Substrates were inoculated with 0, 5000, or 20,000 oospores of P. irregulare per 10-cm container. No visually apparent symptoms of infection or significant differences in shoot and root fresh and dry weights were observed among the uninoculated substrates and the inoculated pasteurized coir. The inoculated pasteurized peat substrate, inoculated unpasteurized peat substrate, and the inoculated unpasteurized coir substrate grown plants had an 88% infection and a significant reduction in the shoot and root fresh and dry weights.

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John Cline, Gerry Neilsen, Eugene Hogue, Shawn Kuchta, and Denise Neilsen

Use of and interest in organic mulches for both integrated fruit production (IFP) and organic fruit production is increasing given recent efforts to reduce pesticide inputs and improve soil health. A series of four experiments was conducted in the southern interior of British Columbia over 5 years to investigate the use of a spray-on-mulch (SOM) slurry, comprised primarily of recycled waste newsprint fiber, as an effective method to control excessive weed competition and enhance tree establishment and performance. In four experiments, ‘Gala’, ‘Granny Smith’, ‘Ambrosia’, and ‘Honeycrisp’ apple (Malus ×domestica) trees on ‘Malling 9’ (‘M.9’) rootstock were exposed to a series of treatments including a glyphosate check, SOM waste paper, SOM over an organic underlay, SOM incorporated with dichlobenil or tackifier, SOM over black landscape fabric, rowcover cloth, or polyethylene plastic. SOM provided superior weed control in comparison with the glyphosate check treatment, a standard orchard practice in many modern orchards in North America. SOM application over compost, paper, and especially over cloth barriers were found to be more effective weed barriers than SOM alone. In comparison with glyphosate checks, SOM improved tree growth during tree establishment. Although the addition of dichlobenil provided season-long weed control, tree growth was diminished in comparison with SOM alone and remained similar to that of the glyphosate checks. There was little or no benefit of including a 2.5% tacking agent to help improve SOM integrity and long-term surface stability. When applied to bearing 4-year-old trees, SOM provided similar tree vigor as glyphosate checks over four growing seasons. The addition of landscape fabric, plastic, or cloth underlay material in combination with SOM improved tree vigor in formative years, but this benefit diminished over time. SOM-treated trees had greater cumulative yields over glyphosate checks after 3 years of production. SOM provided significant temperature moderation during the summer and winter months and provided moisture conservation during the summer. There were few SOM effects on plant nutrient status.

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Michael Raviv, J. Heinrich Lieth, David W. Burger, and Rony Wallach

Physical characteristics of two media were studied concerning water availability to roots, as reflected in specific transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, and specific growth rate of very young leaflets of `Kardinal' rose (Rosa ×hybrida L.), grafted on Rosa canina L. `Natal Brier'. Plants were grown in UC mix [42% composted fir bark, 33% peat, and 25% sand (by volume)] or in coconut coir. Water release curves of the media were developed and hydraulic conductivities were calculated. Irrigation pulses were actuated according to predetermined media moisture tensions. Transpiration rate of plants was measured gravimetrically using load cells. Specific transpiration rate (STR) was calculated from these data and leaf area. STR and stomatal conductance were also determined using a steady-state porometer. Specific growth rate (RSG) of young leaflets was calculated from the difference between metabolic heat rate and respiration rate, which served as an indicator for growth potential. Low STR values found at tensions between 0 and 1.5 kPa in UC mix suggest this medium has insufficient free air space for proper root activity within this range. Above 2.3 kPa, unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of UC mix was lower than that of coir, possibly lowering STR values of UC mix-grown plants. As a result of these two factors, STR of plants grown in coir was 20% to 30% higher than that of plants grown in UC mix. STR of coir-grown plants started to decline only at tensions around 4.5 kPa. Yield (number of flowers produced) by coir-grown plants was 19% higher than UC mix-grown plants. This study demonstrated the crucial role of reaching sufficient air-filled porosity in the medium shortly after irrigation. It also suggests that hydraulic conductivity is a more representative measure of water availability than tension.

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Janet C. Cole and Lee Newell

Five container substrates—3 pine bark (PB) : 1 peat (PT) : 1 sand (SD), 3 PB : 1 recycled paper (RP) : 1 SD, 2 PB : 2 RP : 1 SD, 3 vermiculite (VM) : 1 RP : 1 SD, and 2VM : 2 RP : 1 SD—were used to grow rose-of-sharon (Hibiscus syracus L. `Double Purple') and forsythia (Forsythia ×intermedia Zab. `Lynwood Gold') for 4.5 months. The control substrate (3 PB:1 PT:1 SD) had higher concentrations of NH4 * in leachate than other substrates at each of four sample times during the growing season except 4 Aug. Leaf number and leaf area per plant and height of rose-of-sharon were greater and the leaf area per leaf was smaller in all substrates containing recycled paper than in substrates without recycled paper. Forsythia plants had greater stem and root dry weights and were taller in substrata without recycled paper than plants in substrates with recycled paper. Processed recycled paper is a possible component for container nursery plant production, but further testing on a large number of species is needed before widespread implementation.

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Dharmalingam S. Pitchay and B.C. Bearce

Rooted cuttings of `Supjibi' poinsettia were potted in peat vermiculite, mixed with coal bottom ash at 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% by volume. Values of pH were higher in media containing coal bottom ash. In general, pH increased for the first 4 weeks, during which time 50–100 ppm (N) fertilizer was being applied, decreased temporarily when 200 ppm fertilizer began, and then increased and stabilized for the last 5 weeks. At first, pH tended to be higher with increase in ash, but when 200 ppm fertilizer was begun, pH became the same in all coal ash levels. Once fertilization was stopped, pH tended again to be higher in ash media. Levels of EC remained low in all media when 50–100 ppm of fertilizer was applied, but increased after 200 ppm fertilizer was begun, increasing to excessive levels 2 weeks later. With more watering, EC declined in the 0% ash, but remained high in 50% to 100% ash media. Leaf Ca content increased with increase in media ash but was below the normal range in all plants. With increase in media ash, water capacity decreased, but bulk density increased. Bract color development in plants in ash media appeared delayed.

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J.P. Mitchell, G. Colla, B.A. Joyce, L.M. Huyck, W.W. Wallender, S.R. Temple, P.N. Brostrom, E.M. Miyao, and D. Poudel

The Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems (SAFS) Project was established in 1988 to study the transition from conventional to low-input and organic farm management in California's Sacramento Valley. We evaluated the effects of these alternative farming systems on soil compaction, water-holding capacity, infiltration, and water storage in relation to tomato yield and fruit quality within the SAFS cropping systems comparison 10 years after it had been established. Soil bulk density (0-15, 15-30, 30-45, and 45-60 cm) was not significantly different among the farming systems. In situ water-holding capacity at 24, 48 and 72 h after water application was significantly higher in the organic system at all times and depths except 45-60 cm. Cumulative water infiltration after 3 h in the organic and low-input cover crop-based plots was more than twice that of the conventional system. The more rapid infiltration in the low-input and organic systems resulted in increased total irrigation needs, more water stored in the soil profile throughout the 30 days before harvest, and lower fruit soluble solids and titratable acidity in these systems relative to the conventional system. Yields were not significantly different in the organic, low-input, and conventional systems during either 1997 or 1998.

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Allan B. Woolf, Elspeth A. MacRae, Karen J. Spooner, and Robert J. Redgwell

Modifications to solubilized cell wall polyuronides of sweet persimmon (Diospyros kaki L. `Fuyu') were examined during development of chilling injury (CI) during storage and in response to heat treatments that alleviated CI. Storage at 0 °C caused the solubilization of a polyuronide fraction that possessed a higher average molecular mass than polyuronide solubilized during normal ripening. The viscosity of this fraction was 30-times that of normally ripened fruit. Fruit heat-treated before or following storage contained a soluble polyuronide fraction with a markedly lower average molecular mass and decreased viscosity than in chilling injured fruit. Heat treatment also impeded an increase in viscosity of the cell wall material if applied before storage. CI (gelling) was related to the release of polyuronide from the cell wall during storage and its lack of subsequent degradation. Heat treatments retarded polyuronide release but promoted degradation of solubilized polyuronides.

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Glenn B. Fain, Charles H. Gilliam, Jeff L. Sibley, and Cheryl R. Boyer

to physical properties such as particle size and porosity. Because WholeTree is manufactured it can also be produced with a consistent quality over time. The objective of the research presented here was to evaluate three WholeTree substrates made

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Jiwon Jeong, Jeffrey K. Brecht, Donald J. Huber, and Steven A. Sargent

. 70 221 227 Carpita, N.C. Gibeaut, D.M. 1993 Structural models of primary cell walls in flowering plants: Consistency of molecular structure with the physical properties of the walls during growth Plant J. 3 1

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Vickie Murphy, Kimberly Moore, M. Patrick Griffith, and Chad Husby

Criterion to determine effects of soil physical properties on the growth components. As a result of non-homogeneity of residuals, natural logarithm transformations were used on the growth measurements. Results Zamia growth. Leaf area, leaf number, leaflet